Glasnost

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publicity, openness to public

Glasnost (Russian: гла́сность, IPA: [ˈɡlasnəsʲtʲ]  ( listen), Openness) was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s.[1]

The word was frequently used by Gorbachev to specify the policies he believed might help reduce the corruption at the top of the Communist Party and the Soviet government, and moderate the abuse of administrative power in the Central Committee. Russian human rights activist and dissident Lyudmila Alexeyeva explained glasnost as a word that "had been in the Russian language for centuries. It was in the dictionaries and lawbooks as long as there had been dictionaries and lawbooks. It was an ordinary, hardworking, nondescript word that was used to refer to a process, any process of justice of governance, being conducted in the open."[2]

Glasnost can also refer to the specific period in the history of the USSR during the 1980s when there was less censorship and greater freedom of information.

Contents

Areas of concern

While "glasnost" is associated with freedom of speech, the main goal of this policy was to make the country's management transparent and open to debate, thus circumventing the narrow circle of apparatchiks who previously exercised complete control of the economy. Through reviewing the past or current mistakes being made, it was hoped that the Soviet people would back reforms such as perestroika.

Glasnost gave new freedoms to the people, such as a greater freedom of information by opening up the censored literature in the libraries[3][4] and a greater freedom of speech: a radical change, as control of speech and suppression of government criticism had previously been a central part of the Soviet system. There was also a greater degree of freedom within the media.

In the late 1980s, the Soviet government came under increased criticism, as did Leninist ideology (which Gorbachev had attempted to preserve as the foundation for reform), and members of the Soviet population were more outspoken in their view that the Soviet government had become a failure. Glasnost did indeed provide freedom of expression, far beyond what Gorbachev had intended, and changed citizens' views towards the government, which played a key role in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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